The City of Cordova makes plans to rebuild

The Walker County town of Cordova is trying to get back on its feet from damage done by a tornado in April 2011. Finally there is some hope. The city will receive close to four million dollars from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs for tornado recovery.

As good as this sounds, the city was surprised by what ADECA turned down. Two of the four projects submitted by the city were approved. Construction for new fire and police stations were not approved for funding.

Though they did not get funding for those facilities, city officials say it's hard to complain when they consider what they did receive. Mayor Drew Gilbert vows to find a way to get the fire and police stations he says the city deserves.

"When somebody says they're going to hand out money you're going to ask for all of it. So that's what we did, but we're happy to get what we got," said Gilbert.

When mayor Gilbert approached the ADECA for tornado recovery funding, he left nothing off his request list. "Obviously we went for it all. We went for everything we needed," he said.

The city received 3.7 million dollars to realign Main Street and build a new city hall and library. Gilbert says the city is in desperate need of the facilities. Cordova has gone without a library for two and a half years. "It's been very slow progress in small communities without the funding,without the tax base. It's a battle day in a day for us to get ahead. Things like these can be the spur that brings in that private development and attracts others to come and develop as well," said Gilbert.

Still, the fact remains that the city was turned down for funding to build new police and fire stations. Cordova Police Chief Nick Smith says he was disappointed to get the news. "We would like to have out own jail. It's something Cordova hasn't had in a while. I believe that would be a big plus for he city if we had our own jail. Right now it costs us thirty-five dollars to house our inmates at the walker county jail," said Smith.

Smith says he is confident Gilbert will make good on his word to find the funding needed for new fire and police facilities. Gilbert says that could involve shifting resources they already have. "We're going to get creative with how do we look within. How do we remodel possibly what we have. How do we utilize what we have. Maybe put a facelift on things that we may not have been using for that purpose, but could possibly use for that purpose. And I think we will be able to piece it all together," said Gilbert.

Gilbert says he is not willing to wait very long to get the ball rolling on{} new police and fire facilities. He's not willing to let this drag on for more than a year. As for the new city hall and library, he expects to break ground on that in October.

The city is also in the design phase for new grocery store. Theirs was also destroyed in the tornado.